20 April 2012
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has assured Ghana of South Africa’s loyal support, saying he hopes the two countries can work together in tackling the challenges facing the continent.
Motlanthe is in Ghana for a working visit which could see the two countries cooperating in the energy sector, among others.
Relations between South Africa and Ghana, one of the most stable multi-party democracies in West Africa, are very good, with both countries maintaining residential diplomatic missions in each other’s capitals.
‘Shining example of democracy’
Speaking at a gala dinner held on his behalf in Accra on Thursday, Motlanthe congratulated Ghana on celebrating its 55th anniversary of independence in March.
“As one of the African countries holding elections this year, we look up to your excellent track record and good governance in holding free and fair elections. We hope your country will once again serve as a shining example of democratic change.”
Motlanthe added that he was pleased that Ghana, like South Africa, continued to play a critical role in peacekeeping and upholding good governance in Africa.
While in Ghana, Motlanthe will hold talks with his counterpart, Dramani Mahama, as well as pay a courtesy call on President John Evans Atta Mills.
On the agenda, according to the Presidency, will be cooperation in areas such as energy and energy-related technology, security, and environmental issues, including the management of national parks.
Trade volumes on the increase
According to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Ghana represents a the biggest export market for South African goods in West Africa after Nigeria.
In recent years, trade between the two countries has grown significantly, with South African exports increasing from less than R1-billion in 1998 to over R3-billion in 2009, while imports from Ghana have increased over the same period.
Exports have included vehicles, machinery, mechanical appliances, electrical equipment, base metals, aircraft, vessels and associated products.
“While total trade volumes are still relatively low in global terms, it is expected that these figures will grow,” the department said.
There are more than 80 South African companies registered in Ghana.
Motlanthe is being accompanied on his trip by Energy Minister Dipuo Peters, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba, and Deputy International Relations Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim.